To a large extent the diseases caused by the two viruses may be distinguished on the presenting clinical signs. See table summarising the main features of each condition and also including feline Chlamydia psittaci and Bordetella bronchiseptica infection as a differential diagnosis.
A number of factors can influence the outcome of infection and can make it more difficult to distinguish the cause of the disease.
There may be differences in virulence between virus strains and also the level of the infecting virus dose can affect the severity of the disease seen. The cat itself can influence the response, for example, with factors such as:
- general health;
- nutritional status;
- intercurrent disease (e.g. with feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), FIV, feline panleucopenia);
- differences in microbial flora (more severe syndromes may be associated with beta haemolytic streptococci, haemolytic staphylococci, Pasteurella multocida and B. bronchiseptica infection);
- specific immune status, i.e. the cat may be partially or wholly immune from vaccination or a previous infection, or a kitten may have maternally derived antibody.
Bacterial culture and sensitivity tests
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